One Great Day
December 5th, 2015 will forever be known as a great day for the family of our Founder, Tom Wiley. It wasn't just any great day; it was ONE great day in particular. His wife had been battling cancer for over two years now, and her health was steadily declining to the point that she had considerable pain every time she would walk.
For most of November, Laura would either work from bed or limit her walking to the office downstairs. It was at this point that he started to assume single-dad duties - waking the kids up, making breakfast, getting them off to school, picking them up from school, getting them to their activities, feeding them then getting them into bed.
However, on December 5th, things started out a little differently. Tom woke up around 6:30 am to the sound of Laura getting out of bed, which at the time wasn't an everyday occurrence. He assumed she was just getting up to go to the bathroom, so he closed his eyes and went back to sleep. Around 8 am Tom awoke to sounds and smells that haven't permeated the walls of their home for a while, a mother's laughter and the smell of pancakes. He walked out to see Laura cooking breakfast and the first thing she told him was how great she felt. She had even started to pull out Christmas decorations from the basement. After an excellent family breakfast, they all proceeded to put up Christmas decorations and the kids helped Laura decorate the tree. It was shaping up to be a great day.
At one point during the day, Tom heard banging, giggling, squealing while he was downstairs getting additional decorations. His first reaction was to scream up there and tell everyone to keep it down, but then he remembered Laura was having a great day, a pain-free day. He walked up the stairs and turned the corner into the kitchen. It's a memory that he will cherish forever, Laura and the kids were dancing without a care in the world.
Dancing. It seems minor, but when you can barely walk and suddenly you're dancing, it's nothing short of a miracle.
Tom stood there and took it all in. For some reason, he knew he had to cherish that small moment.
Because Laura was able to watch the kids, Tom was able to do a lot of things around the house that he normally wouldn't be able to accomplish in one day, things such as laundry, house cleaning and many other common chores that we see as a burden. Later that evening, they went out as a family to see Santa and had dinner with friends, followed up with viewing Christmas lights at Tilles Park.
At one point he remembers telling Laura to slow down, she just shrugged it off and said she'd rest tomorrow.
December 5th, 2015 was a great day. The Wileys spent it as a family and enjoyed many small memorable moments. Laura spent the following day in bed and never had a great day like that again. The weeks to come were difficult until Laura eventually passed away on January 14th, 2016. It was shortly after this that an idea was born to help other families dealing with cancer.
The December 5th Fund was created to give families a chance to be a family again and to give them a great day full of wonderful memories that they can treasure long after the burden of cancer is gone.